Sooo tired

I know that most of us can relate to the title of this post. And today is Sunday, when I customarily take a nap.

I have taken a lot of naps lately. Mostly on the couch at night while my husband and I are watching a TV show. Even on shows that I’m interested in, I find myself “resting my eyes.” John laughs and says, “Yeah, right.” I have been so tired that I sleep through parts of my favorite shows.

Yesterday we went to see “The Wall,” a movie that’s a fantasy about The Great Wall of China; it stars Matt Damon. As soon as we got to the theater, I sensed I was in trouble. We watched the previews, and I struggled to stay engaged. Then the movie began, and … I slept. Even with a hyper 10-11-year-old sitting beside me. He and his friend kept talking and I started to tell them to shush, but suddenly I didn’t care. I fell asleep.

I woke up about 20 or so minutes into the movie. I hadn’t figured out that Matt Demon was in the movie, and I didn’t recognize him until someone told him and his companion to go clean up, that they smelled like animals. Boy, I must have been out of it, because normally he is one of my favorite actors.

So today I took a cherished Sunday afternoon nap. I wasn’t feeling well, and I conked out. About an hour later, I heard quick footsteps walking around upstairs. I looked over and John was still in bed, so I woke him (not smart) and said, “Who’s that upstairs?” It was our daughter. She had come by our house to get her computer today, even though she came by yesterday afternoon for the same reason (and forgot what she came for).

I came upstairs bleary-eyed and said, “Well, hi, what are you doing here?”

I think that part of why I am napping so much lately is that I haven’t been sleeping well at night. I have an autoimmune disorder that causes my feet to swell and skin to itch…and just general joint discomfort. On a good night, I wake up only once, go to the bathroom about 3:00 a.m., and catch about 2.5 hours more of sleep. On a bad night, I wake up multiple times or I don’t fall back asleep. One day a couple of weeks ago, it got so bad  in the midafternoon at work that I took out my yoga blanket, folded it up like a pillow, got down on the floor under my desk, and napped for about 10 minutes. I was able to focus after that. (This is the first time in my 37 years of working that I’ve actually given in and taken a nap at work.)

I think my mind and body are tired from my weird diseases but mostly from grieving over my dad. I started sleeping with my daughter’s teddy bear about 2 weeks ago, and it feels good to have it to hug. Maybe I’m grieving the empty nest (though I longed for it to get here, it hit about the same time as my dad’s decline) and my dad at the same time. Who knows. I am grateful to be able to get up every day and walk. Keep on walking; keep on moving; take a nap when your body tells you you need to. (I can always put my head down and say, “Amen” and maybe people will think I’m praying. :D) That’s my theme.

 

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Random Thoughts in the Middle of the Night

I wake up in the middle of the night, usually between 2:30 and 3:00. “Breathe in, breathe out,” I tell myself to still the thoughts scampering around my mind. I get up, go to the bathroom, and return to bed in hopes that deep breathing and exhaling will relax me enough to get back to sleep.

The light from my clock radio is keeping me awake. I see the light from a streetlamp filtering through our bedroom window. What’s that blinking light in the bathroom? It’s John’s razor, signaling that it’s recharged. It used to blink from my vanity until it bugged me so much we moved it to the bathroom. I don my sleep mask in hopes of returning to dreamland. No such luck.

Finally, around 4:00 a.m., I give up and climb the steps from our bedroom to the kitchen. “This place is lit up like a motel,” I mutter to myself as I go from room to room, switching off lights. No matter how many times I remind our daughter to turn off the lights, it seems she often forgets and leaves the light on in every room. Memories from my teenage years come to mind. My dad was the one who went through the house before bedtime, grumbling that every light was on. He and I kept late-night hours. My mother went to bed around 9:00, and I wondered why she got sleepy so early, just when I was just getting cranked up to finish my homework, after helping run dinner over to my grandparents and aunt’s home next door,  practicing piano for the requisite 1 hour, and maybe watching a little TV.

Now, 40 years later,  I have turned into my mom. Julie, 22, looks at me incredulously when we’re watching TV together and I nod off. I finally get up and say, “Well, it’s time for me to go to bed.” She cannot comprehend the fatigue that has overwhelmed me when her youthful energy is rising.

I light a candle and gaze at the flame as I sip a cup of coffee, knowing this night I will not return to sleep. I name some of the matters on my mind (sometimes I write them in a journal; other times I write a letter to a trusted friend who understands my early-morning ramblings).

I pull out a book of poetry and look for something that resonates with me at this hour. Ah, there it is.

You Can’t Have It All

by Barbara Ras

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands

gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger

on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.

You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look of the black dog,

the look that says, If I could I would bite every sorrow until it fled,

and when it is August, you can have it August and abundantly so.

You can have love, though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam

that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys …

You can have the life of the mind,

glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,

never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you

all roads narrow at the border.

You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,

and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave

where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,

but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands

as if they were meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful

for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia,

grateful

for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy ,,,

You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd

but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,

how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,

until you learn about love, about sweet surrender, …

And when adulthood fails you,

you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond

of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas

your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.

There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,

it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,

but there is this.

Barbara Ras, “You Can’t Have It All” from One Hidden Stuff. Copyright 2006 by Barbara Ras. Published by Penguin; appears in Caroline Kennedy’s She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems (pp. 237-238), copyright 2011 Caroline Kennedy; published by Hyperion. I did not request permission to reprint, as this blog is read by only a few people.

Already my breathing has slowed, the thoughts in my troubled mind have hushed, and now it’s 5:00 a.m. Time for a second cup of coffee and a little more reading to really start my day.